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Saturday, July 04, 2020

TV Rewind | Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Kitsch doorway to a deeply emotional story

Starring Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was a dark tale wrapped up in neon colours. The show lasted for four years and ended in 2019.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: June 14, 2020 8:44:32 am
tv rewind crazy ex-girlfriend Starring Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s representation of mental health issues was followed by the strong message – ask for help.

When Crazy Ex-Girlfriend started airing in 2015, this was just another show that looked like a romantic comedy. There was a female protagonist who was deeply in love with a boy and was ready to make all kinds of sacrifices so that she could be with him. But what regular television had made us accept as normal prime-time, was something quite problematic and this is where Crazy Ex-Girlfriend came in.

Starring Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch, this four-season show was created by Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is often remembered for its lavish musical numbers which were done in a fantastic way while also trying to impart the show’s message. The show was often praised by critics for its handling of mental health issues and its ability to differentiate between problematic behaviour and ‘love’. Even the show’s title was a way to challenge the cliche of ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’, which is somehow accepted by a larger audience.

What is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend all about?

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend opens with Rebecca Bunch who is a highly paid successful lawyer in New York until one day she accidentally bumps into Josh, a boy she once dated briefly during summer camp. That chance meeting triggers something, and Rebecca leaves her cushy life in New York and moves to a small town in California. The job here pays less, and Josh hardly remembers her, but from that point on, it is her life’s mission to be with Josh.

What works for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a dark tale wrapped up in neon colours. As the first season takes off, we see Rebecca spending her every waking minute in trying to wiggle her way into Josh’s life, and it is obvious that she needs help. The show does not fool you into thinking that it is some twisted version of love but acknowledges quite early on that Rebecca is a troubled person who needs to take care of her mental health.

Her scheming ways land her the boy of her dreams, but she hits rock bottom after Josh leaves her at the altar in Season 2. Things get even worse after she attempts suicide in Season 3.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend could never get the ratings it deserved, but the show was consistently praised for its portrayal of mental health issues. Not just with the lead character, the show expanded its horizon and focused on many character’s backgrounds and the nurturing they got that shaped them eventually.

Rebecca’s addictive behaviour is revisited again and again until she accepts herself and seeks help for the same. It’s only when she lets go of all the probable love interests and makes herself the priority that we can hope that she has changed for the better. Unlike other shows, here Rebecca faces the consequences of her actions in her relationships and at work as well. Her problematic way of dealing with relationships isn’t just limited to her love life, but her family and friends as well.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend received a lot of praise for its musical numbers. In the show, these musical numbers took place inside Rebecca’s head and were something that the audience looked forward to. The numbers were also the perfect balancing factor in an otherwise dark story that was presented in a seemingly light manner.

The show was also quite vocal about female reproductive health and even had musical numbers for the same. This was a first for a prime-time show and was considered ‘bold’ even in this day and age.

Laurels

Over its four-year run, the show managed to win four Emmy Awards. Rachel Bloom was awarded a Golden Globe after the first season of the show.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is streaming on Netflix.

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